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New video shows officers' handling of DUI suspect who later died

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This image captured by a surveillance camera shows officers with Warren Lindvold in a Valley City police garage. Special to The Forum2 / 2

VALLEY CITY, N.D. — A newly released video and police report shed more light onto how authorities handled 72-year-old Warren Lindvold during the early hours of July 15, after Lindvold was arrested on suspicion of DUI.

Lindvold died in a Fargo hospital six days after the arrest, and a preliminary autopsy report said his death was caused by a broken neck.

Lindvold's family has asked an attorney to look into the circumstances surrounding his arrest and brief incarceration. The North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigation is investigating whether a criminal act was to blame for Lindvold's death.

The video, newly released by the Valley City Police Department, shows about a 10-minute interaction between Lindvold and two officers in what appears to be a garage at the Valley City police station.

In the video, Lindvold is taken out of a police vehicle and appears to slump to the ground as officers try to hold him up.

Officers then drag Lindvold for several steps by holding him under his arms before taking him back to the police vehicle and placing him back inside with what appears to be considerable difficulty, as Lindvold seems unable or unwilling to assist them.

The time stamp for when Lindvold arrives at the garage shows 1:22 a.m. on July 15. He's back in the police vehicle about 10 minutes later.


Three hours

Along with the footage from the police garage, Valley City police released a supplemental report from police officer Christopher Olson.

Olson said in the report that he was at the Barnes County Jail on July 19 and spoke with a jail officer who was on duty the morning of July 15 when Lindvold was arrested.

Olson said he asked the jail officer about Lindvold, as Lindvold was hospitalized at the time.

The female jail officer replied that Lindvold had complained about pain near the end of her shift, and she said she informed a male jail officer of Lindvold's complaint.

She told Olson the male jail officer told her she could end her shift and he would deal with Lindvold's complaint, Olson's report said.

The female jail officer told Olson the male jail officer "waited approximately 3 hours before attending to Lindvold, who was found on the floor of his cell," Olson's report said.


Traffic stop

Valley City police stopped Lindvold's vehicle at 12:42 a.m. on July 15, Barnes County State's Attorney Carl Martineck said in a statement last week.

Lindvold, a retired farmer who was never married and lived alone, was arrested for DUI and taken to the police station for further DUI testing at 1:06 a.m.

Squad car video released earlier this summer from the traffic stop shows Lindvold was not successful in providing a useable breath sample at the scene. The footage also shows that after Lindvold was handcuffed, he expressed to police that he was in extreme pain and had difficulty moving.

Martineck's statement said Lindvold was taken to the Barnes County Jail about 1:20 a.m. on July 15, where he continued to complain of neck and shoulder pain and difficulty moving.

Before being booked into the jail, Lindvold was taken by ambulance about 2 a.m. to Mercy Hospital in Valley City and was returned to the jail about 3 a.m. after being medically cleared by hospital staff.

Martineck's statement asserts that at that time Lindvold walked into the jail "under his own power, with the assistance of VCPD officers." After being booked in, Lindvold complained he was unable to stand.

Jail video and a police report indicate jail staff and a police officer carried Lindvold to a cell.

During regular rounds, jail staff observed Lindvold sleeping in his bed and then on the floor. Lindvold later informed jail staff that he was unable to get off the floor or move his hands and that he couldn't feel his arms or legs, Martineck's statement said.

Jail staff requested an ambulance at about 8 a.m.

It remains unclear how Lindvold suffered the neck fracture and when it happened. A family friend previously told The Forum that Lindvold was disabled by a progressive arthritis condition he'd dealt with since high school.

Valley City Attorney Lilie Schoenack has said officers handled a difficult situation to the best of their ability, and she said there is no need for disciplinary action.


Dave Olson
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